The many delicious dishes of Egyptian cuisine

When we head to Egypt from March 20-29, 2020, you’re going to want to pack a full bag and an empty stomach. As one of the first places on earth to use agriculture and livestock, it should be no surprise Egyptians know how to eat good food. Here is a rundown of what you can expect from the native eats in Egyptian cuisine.

Egypt is a Mediterranean country, and just like Greece and Turkey, the national cuisine reflects similar characteristics. Most dishes contain key uses of legumes, vegetables, and healthy grains, like rice and pita breads. Fava beans, lentils, nuts, dates, chickpeas, and most every garden vegetable have a huge role in popular entrees.

Examples of common Egyptian dishes are ful medames (a stew of cooked fava beans, onions, spices, and other optional add-ins), kushari (a sort of rice, pasta, and lentils salad, mixed with tomato sauce and chickpeas), and shawarma (slow-roasted, spiced meats, commonly served as street food). A dish Americans and Egyptians enjoy alike is the kabob, which is a skewer of grilled meat. Beef kabobs are the norm in the United States, but lamb kabobs are more common in Egypt.

Most entrees are accompanied by side dishes as well, such as chickpea falafels or a bed of steamed couscous.

The crown jewel of Egyptian cuisine is the cheese. Egyptians have been making cheese for as long as the Nile has been growing crops and domesticated animals. Egypt’s cheese variety rivals that of its European contemporaries, with both soft and hard cheeses in plentiful varieties. Eating cheese is most common during breakfast, where it is spread over breads or topped on pastries.

The most common meat additions in Egyptian food are rabbit, pigeon, chicken, and duck, which are featured in stews and other affordable meals for the Egyptian working class. Assorted bits of liver and other meat trimmings stuffed inside small sandwiches are a common quick meal in metro areas such as Cairo and somewhat resemble the American cousin, Hoagie. Grilled Beef and lamb are also big favorites, but are more expensive. The brains of these animals can also be found in Egyptian butcher shop windows.

Even with this variety, Egyptian food is very vegetarian friendly, with many delicious dishes lacking meat. Meat has historically been very expensive in Egypt. Couple this with a sizeable Coptic Christian community, whose religious customs dictate routine vegan fasting, you can spend a lot of time around an Egyptian dinner table without touching meat, if you’re so inclined.

Tea is the most popular beverage in Egypt by a wide margin. Despite the majority of Egyptians’ adherence to Islam, alcohol can still be purchased in most stores, with beer being the most common alcoholic beverage. Beer has been a staple of Egyptian culture since the very beginning, with archeological finds suggesting the laborers of the Great Pyramids received a daily ration of several liters of the drink.

Lastly, Egyptians love their desserts. Examples of Egyptian desserts include basbousa (a buttery sweet cake dipped in syrup and usually served with yogurt), ghorayiba (shortbread cookies made from flour, sugar, and butter), and kahk (an iced cookie stuffed with walnuts and dates, served during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr).

If this made your mouth water, then now is the time to commit to joining us in Egypt March 20-29, 2020 for the vacation of a lifetime. There will be plenty of delicious meals and maybe even a few of the items described above. Travelers will need every bit of energy they can get in preparation for the vast treasure trove of ruins, temples, attractions, and natural beauty, all to be explored in the Land of the Nile with your Chamber.

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